The downturn in the economy has many negative implications, but the director of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission (LUC) said something positive can be derived from a slower rate of growth.

The downturn in the economy has many negative implications, but the director of the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission (LUC) said something positive can be derived from a slower rate of growth.

"The economy is obviously a big issue," said LUC director Jenny Snapp. "Although it is a bad thing, this gives us time for extra planning, particularly in Union County."

For years, Snapp said, the county has seen a high growth rate. As it slows, officials have time to step back and reassess the situation, and plan for the future of the region.

Union County commissioners, she said, supported the LUC in hiring Kyle Hanigosky as a new planner.

At the same time, she said, local entities are updating their comprehensive plans so future development can be done appropriately.

"Obviously we've had a lot of growth over the last year and I am really excited about that," said Snapp. "It is exciting to hear that other county organizations are doing strategic planning, because I feel very proud of the fact that we went through that process about three years ago."

LUC conducted the second phase of strategic planning for its organization last year, and several county and township officials were involved in the process.

"We had a six-hour meeting where we really planned for where we are going in the future," said Snapp.

Union County commissioner Charles Hall serves as the LUC board president this year, while engineer Jeff Stauch represents the county on the board.

The Union County Comprehensive Plan Update is proceeding, according to Snapp.

"This gives an important opportunity to look at land-use patterns and growth management," she said.

Hanigosky is heading up the project for LUC.

She said he is putting together committees to begin the planning process and has outlined the framework for the plan.

"We are working with Dover Township right now on a community survey," she said.